PHYS.ORG – CALEB JONES
After eight months of living in isolation on a remote Hawaii volcano, six NASA-backed research subjects will emerge from their Mars-like habitat on Sunday and return to civilization.
Their first order of business after subsisting on mostly freeze-dried and canned food: Feast on fresh-picked pineapple, papaya, mango, locally grown vegetables and a fluffy, homemade egg strata cooked by their project’s lead scientist.
The crew of four men and two women were quarantined on a vast plain below the summit of the world’s largest active volcano in January. All of their communications with the outside world were subjected to a 20-minute delay—the time it takes for signals to get from Mars to Earth.
They are part of a study designed to better understand the psychological effects that a long-term manned mission to space would have on astronauts. The data they gathered will help NASA better pick crews that have certain traits and a better chance of doing well during a two-to-three year Mars expedition.
The space agency hopes to send humans to the red planet by the 2030s.